In building on the Bishop of Rome’s environmental drive, and as the Catholic Herald reported on Aug 28th 2015, the Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, placed his diocese on “environmental alert.” In doing so, Bishop Egan stated:
‘environmental alert’ should influence the way people pray by having it as a bidding prayer, Mass intention or focus of prayer groups and [it should] even impact people’s examination of conscience for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
In an enviro-ecumenical™ pincer movement, on the same day that the Catholic bishop, Bishop Egan, spoke out, a Church of England bishop, Bishop Nicholas Holtam, urged his congregation to “get behind pope Francis’s Worldwide Day of Prayer for Creation,” noting:
We live at a time when human activity has caused a dramatic reduction in the earth’s biodiversity and when people are causing climate change through our profligate use of fossil fuels. A consensus has emerged about the need to move to a low carbon economy. Whatever the scientific, economic and political difficulties at root this is a spiritual problem.
Given the religiously-driven furore over the environment, Emelia, a good Catholic and ecumenist, was so affected that during her Examination of Conscience in preparation for her Confession on August 29, 2015, she remembered her picnic basket of the prior Sunday.
In that basket she had included plastic utensils and paper plates, rather than washable knives and forks and regular crockery. So, in a deep state of mortification, as Emelia tells A-CNN, she went into the Confessional stating:
Bless me Father for I have sinned….
I used plastic knives and forks, when metal utensils were available;
I used paper plates when I could have used regular crockery;
I turned on the hot water tank on an hour before taking a shower, when 15 minutes before would have done;
I sometimes print emails at work; and,
I do not pay the extra, optional, carbon fee when buying a plane ticket.
Emelia, who was expecting a sound spiritual thrashing by the priest, was pleasantly surprised when he stated: “Emelia, if God does not care whether you have committed a mortal sin such as adultery, why on earth would you think he cares about anything else, even the environment! Simply put, God doesn’t care. He is so full of mercy, He doesn’t care what you do! Be glad in his mercy! Do whatever you want whenever you want.”
It was only subsequently that Emelia learned that her confessor had been a Missionary of Mercy priest who had been dispatched to her Parish in preparation for The Jubilee Year of Mercy. She was so thankful to him for allaying her fears and her guilty conscience and, equally so, so happy to know that whatever she did, God didn’t care. He would love her, no matter what.